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From the inside: dispatches from a women's prison.


Ruth Wyner

Type: Collection
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

In November 1999, at Cambridge Crown Court, Ruth Wyner and her co-defendant John Brock were found guilty under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Their 'crime', as charity workers devoted to funning the Wintercomfort hostel for Cambridge's homeless population, was in the eyes of the police to have made insufficient efforts to prevent drug dealing on the premises. Such injustice was astonishing enough, but an even greater shock was the sentence: five years, no less, and the following day Ruth Wyner found herself in Holloway Prison. "From the Inside" is Ruth Wyner's account of her time in a women's prison, first at Holloway and then at Highpoint Prison in Norfolk. She had to serve seven months before the appeal hearing that quashed her sentence - though not her conviction - by which time the "Cambridge Two" campaign had attracted high-profile support from Joan Baez to Tom Stoppard and Jo Brand. It is not only the first full account in years of what life is like in one of Britain's women's prisons - and therefore of sociological interest; it is also the frank and moving story of how one woman - even with the benefits of a loving family, education and mental stability denied to her infinitely more vulnerable fellow inmates - struggled to cope with the unhealthy, dehumanising, incessantly noisy and nerve-jangling daily life of a women's jail.





Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Ruth Wyner. (2003) From the inside: dispatches from a women's prison. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 24th August 2019].


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